Arutz Sheva brings you the opinions of three respected and involved experts, translated from the popular Be’Sheva Hebrew weekly newspaper, on how Israel should react to the upscaled terror from Gaza.
I. Alon Shuster, Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council Head (one of the hardest hit areas, ed.):
“The Security Situation Exacts a Price”
All the years I have been in office, that is to say the last ten years, have been years of tension, endless violence and interruptions of normal life that damage the status of Israel’s sovereignty, all coming from the Gaza Strip.
For half of that time, the IDF was in control of the Gaza Strip and during the second half of it, the IDF gave up control the Strip. I was witness to varying ways of dealing with the problem by different governments: unilateral measures, negotiations, military operations.
I have consistently refrained from overstepping the boundary of my job, and have concentrated on one topic only: how to achieve a situation where my residents will be happy people, who believe in living in the area, and how to see to it that more and more young people want to come live here with us and feel that they have made the right decision in doing so.
Regional Council heads do not give advice to Prime Ministers, because by definition I believe that the government must make decisions using a broader point of view than I can have.
The Shalit’s are allowed to campaign single-mindedly for their son’s return, but the government has to decide what to do on the basis of the longterm results of its actions. That’s how I feel about the situation in the south. One has to listen to our distress, but make decisions based on the overall situation and future developments.
I don’t have the overall picture, that’s why I see it from a different angle. I can, however, make clear to the government the cost to my region of not achieving quiet. We don’t even have two successive weeks of quiet here, and I say this with absolute certainty. There are tens of incidents every month. And there is a “price tag” for this lack of calm.
As long as the population can live with the fact that it is being fired upon, the government can provide answers in the form of protective measures.
However, once the people living here cannot live with this kind of reality anymore, the government will have to find another answer. At present, people still are willing to live in the area surrounding Gaza and the area is thriving and developing. If things change, the government will have to assess the situation and decide if a military operation is in order.
It is possible that the desire to keep our relations with Egypt on an even keel is more important than reacting to the fire. If we had all the facts that the Prime Minister has before him, I could answer more clearly.
In addition, I was for the “disengagement” and I still am. If we take over Gaza, I don’t see how we will ever get out of there. There is no Hollywoody ‘happy end’ here, and that is why, having no other choice, I am willing to accept the fact that we live in a complex reality, and that for the good of the state of Israel we have to pay a certain price.
II. Professor Moshe Sharon, Middle East Expert, Hebrew University, Jerusalem:
“Stop Worrying About the World’s Reaction”
We don’t need an extensive military operation because we have enough tools with which to punish Hamas without endangering the lives of any soldiers. I wonder where our Katyushas have disappeared to; where are our mortars, our artillery and our airplanes?
The IAF can act in a more efficient manner, and not damage just real estate, so that we can punish the Hamas much more severely.
I understand that we have a government which is very fearful of public opinion and of the media. Perhaps it is afraid of UN condemnation.
But Hamas includes civilians in its actions. We have proof that Hamas terrorists surround themselves with children and fire rockets to which the IDF refrains from reacting – it is this we have to show the world and the UN.
We have to say that if our citizens don’t live in tranquillity, there is no help for it, neither will theirs. Instead of us running to shelters, let them run at the sound of announcements of “Red Alert.”
We must understand that in the Middle East, those who refrain from responding are seen as weak, and weakness invites immediate attack.
That is why we have to put a stop to our “righteousness” , the most extreme righteousness in the entire Middle East, while Hamas keeps millions of Israeli residents in constant and immediate danger.
Today it is not just Kassams that Hamas has in its stockpiles, but over 100 much improved missiles. Since we were promised that after the Oslo Accords there would be no Katyushas on Ashkelon, we now call them by the laundered word “Grads” , when they are actually just improved Katyusha rockets.
In my opinion, destroying three shopping malls in Gaza will do the job without a single IDF infantry man entering the area. In the past we had no problem with destroying a mall or airport there, but now we are afraid the world will say that we are condemning the Gazans to starvation.
III. Dr. Aryeh Yitschaki, Military Historian
“Destroy the Terrorist Entity”
Israel is once again being dragged into the game of Indian wrestling with a terrorist enemy. The time has come to stop tactical power plays and start developing long term strategy to eliminate the roots of terror. Conditions are ripe to go out to war (not just an operation) to destroy the Iranian terrorist entity called Hamastan.
The war should have three stages:
Stage one– a military procedure that must end with the capture of the “head of the snake”, the military bunker under the Shifa Hospital in Gaza, and with the elimination of all the military and political heads of the murderous Arab organizations in Gaza.
All those who fear the IDF getting stuck in a bloody mess should recall that the Cast Lead Operation proved that the myths about difficult hand to hand fighting in built up areas and of the strength of Hamas were false myths that had no connection to reality. The IDF can mop it all up in three days of fighting.
Stage two, once the first stage is over, is moving all the refugees to northern Sinai in an international operation funded by the G8 and the petro-dollar nations. At this point, UNRWA should stop being an independent organization and join the international UN organization for aiding refugees.
Stage Three: Building and development. An operation called “ten fingers” will establish ten strips of Jewish settlement across the Gaza strip from east to west, rebuild the 23 communities that were destroyed and add another 27 new ones, adding up to a total of 50 settelements.
Simultaneously, Israel must begin digging the “Sea Canal” starting at the “General’s Outpost” west of Rafiah. It will be built along the Philadelphia Corridor, and go on across the width of the Negev up to the Dead Sea. It will be deep and wide and form a massive obstacle preventing infiltration from northern Sinai to Israel.
“Without vision, a nation cannot live” (Proverbs 29,18)is a crucial saying to remember. We will pay a heavy cost in blood if we put off bold action.